Photos: boy on a roof and La Soufriere cloud - Yahoo News  | Clearing a roof in Wallilabu courtesy Orvil Samuel

ECMIL and Reconstruction beyond the Volcano crisis

In St. Vincent resources have been stretched to the limit.

Damage to property and livelihoods, infrastructure and basic needs have engulfed this island, which now requires international assistance to begin essential recovery.

As nightly YouTube® videos show extensive damage to roofs, in Georgetown and predominantly beyond the Rabacca Dry River, the sight of hoes and shovels being used to remove solidified ash from roof sheeting is all that can be done quickly, to save buildings from the elements and collapse.  
For some, that has already happened.

Every disaster reveals weaknesses in our system and shortcuts in our process.
But it makes us better for the future.

In the coming months and beyond, official pronouncements and protocols will be discussed to combat and resist future incidents.  Codes will be revamped to improve standards and much science will be applied.

The reality is, that steel roof sheeting is still the most economically viable and reliable solution to safe coverage of any structure. 24 gauge sheet steel can withstand huge pressure.  

However, roof sheeting can be weakened by its supports, type and gauge of timber and spacing between rafters.  Under roof coverage by plywood, well engineered support, to spread the load and a secure and reliable plate, secured to purposely strong, rebar reinforced walls, will go a long way to increase much needed resistance.

These elements carry a price.  They are common in new, larger structures, but are often sadly lacking in simple home builds, impeded in security and durability, by cost and understanding.

The word ‘temporary’ takes on a different meaning in good times, than in times of crisis.

One thing is for sure, as the Caribbean islands face the rapid increase in global warming, volcanic and hurricane events, with obvious increased voracity, we must face our living circumstances with a collective will for ‘ah we’ to survive.

We must establish much better ways for all of us to afford safety, security and durability.

The Caribbean’s greatest asset is its people.  We have a simple path ahead.  Protect our coastlines and property from erosion and flood, make better decisions about cost of materials,
re-engineer our building requirements based on current stresses and how we approach disaster mitigation long before it strikes.

Change never comes easily
and requires big steps to better living.

At ECMIL we will, in the next months be part of the impending relief, with reliable materials and solid, tried and tested advice.  

To compliment this, we invite all engineers, architects and builders, directly related to island reconstruction, to share necessary innovations and bring a new spirit to the strength of our constructions, as a nation and by extension, a region.

Rebuilding is in fact, an enormous opportunity for
reassessment and establishment of better, clearer thinking, about environmental management and the implementation of risk driven common sense regulations.  We must work around an existing problem with reasonable solutions.  

We cannot afford to ignore
or be lax about potential outcomes.

The management and staff of ECMIL are grateful 
for the goodwill shown by the international community,
our neighbouring islands and our people,
both at home and abroad.

Safety first - help your neighbour - maintain all protocols - even now, we are rebuilding!

NB. This article is for general information purposes only and is meant as an incentive to the reader, who should then research and seek advice from their architectural and construction professionals to confirm that the ideas expressed are possible within the building codes of their territory or within the limitations of their home's architecture. ECMIL only recommends their own products and third party products which they supply, as part of their company's roofing solutions to customers.

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